When I was about ten, my parents took us on a road trip out west. I spent a lot of time leaning against the blankets my mom bought in Mexico, reading Archie comics. I also had them play the same mixtape over and over. I remember the tape – called “Greatest hits Volume IV,” I believe. But I can only remember small snippets of the actual music. I Heard it through the Grapevine was on that mix, and Don’t Give Up by Peter Gabriel. I know if I could find that tape I’d remember the words to so many of the songs that I can’t even remember titles to right now!
I’ve always been a fan of music in the car. When I got my license and could finally drive independently, I put in my mixtapes, or the ones my friends made, and turned up the volume. I rolled down the window to the red Hyundai my parents let me take to school almost every day, and picked up my friends.
I still remember a summer drive through a warm New Jersey expressway. I was driving from my family beach vacation to pick up my boyfriend about an hour away so he could join the vacation. I don’t remember what music I played, but I remember the feeling of windows down, music on, and open road. Independence!
When my kids were little, I played music on the way to any destination; errands or road trips! Sometimes I played music to keep everyone awake and singing. Sometimes I played music to help lull children to sleep for a nap or even for actual bedtime. One morning I did the preschool drop off, and went to get a coffee while the baby slept soundly in his carseat. It wasn’t until after I drove away with my coffee that I realized that Laurie Berkner was still playing, and I was singing along. Those Laurie Berkner songs are catchy!
My road trip out west this summer has a different soundtrack. Playlists from my phone, or music my 18 year old chooses, or my boys request. (And sometimes a Dear Hank and John podcast, or a little bit of an audiobook.)
It’s a shame I can’t write while I drive, because as the music plays I start creating a found poem from some of the lines that stand out. I don’t remember my poems once I am done driving. But, I keep making them the next day on the road. I don’t think it’s the same when I’m sitting and thinking about it, but I can give it a try. Maybe you’ll recognize the songs.
She’s been everybody else’s girl, maybe one day she’ll be her own
where’s my apology?
So raise your glass if you are wrong
God sometimes you just don’t come through
Do you need a woman to look after you
I keep cruising
you outgrew me
Don’t you remember?
They’re watching my every sound
Have I the courage to change today?
You know I laugh too long
I like too much of you, when i’m gone
I’ve looked at clouds from both sides now
Oh, I wish I had a river I could skate away on
I’m not your friend or anything, damn
I know what I know, if you know what I mean
Oh no, don’t try to hustle me
We can’t afford to be innocent,
stand up and face the enemy
It’s a do or die situation, we will be invincible
Don’t worry about a thing
‘Cause every little thing gonna be all right
Me, me, me, me, me, me, me, It needs to be about me
Cause I’m my own soulmate
That’s exactly how I feel
Don’t hide no emotions
Wear ’em on my sleeve
Try it! Press shuffle on your songs, and collect some lines. What is your playlist shuffle poem?